If you’ve just finished watching the first part of Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War, you might be wondering why Ichigo’s Bankai can’t be stolen by the Quincies. What makes it special when even several captains had their Bankais stolen? That’s what we’ll see in this article!
In the world of Bleach, a Shinigami’s Bankai is their ultimate weapon, representing the culmination of years of training and dedication. These powerful techniques can be used to devastating effect in combat, and their acquisition is a closely guarded secret. However, Ichigo Kurosaki’s Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, stands apart from the rest. Not only is it one of the most powerful Bankai releases in the series, but it also possesses a unique quality that sets it apart from all others: it cannot be stolen by the Quincies.
In this article, we’ll explore what makes Ichigo’s Bankai so special and why it remains a vital part of his arsenal, even as new enemies and challenges arise.
In short, the reason why Ichigo’s Bankai can’t be stolen is because of his Quincy heritage, passed down from his mother, mixed in with his Hollow powers. Both Ichigo’s Shikai and Bankai aren’t entirely shinigami in nature. They’re Quincy powers acting like shinigami abilities, or a mix of the two, and his weapon is simply a sword manifested by Zangetsu. Ichigo unleashes his real Shinigami powers and achieves his real Zanpakutō in the Thousand-Year Blood War arc.
Why Ichigo’s Bankai Can’t Be Stolen by The Quincy?
Before discussing Ichigo’s Bankai, we must talk about his heritage. Ichigo’s abilities are closely tied to his identity, and his mixed heritage is what makes him such a unique and powerful character in the world of Bleach.
His abilities as a Shinigami, Quincy, and Fullbring user are intertwined, giving him an incredible range of techniques to draw upon.
It all started when Aizen began experimenting with artificial hollows. One of these hollows was in Karakura town, where Isshin Shiba, the captain of the 10th Division and Ichigo’s father, went to investigate. While fighting the hollow, Ichigo’s mother, Masaki Kurosaki, a Quincy, appeared and helped defeat the creature. But in doing so, she was infected by its hollow powers.
To save her life, Isshin, with the help of Urahara Kisuke, a former captain of the 12th Division, gave up his shinigami powers to be near Masaki and keep the hollow powers within her suppressed.
After he became a normal human, Isshin fell in love and married Masaki. Together, they had Ichigo, Karin, and Yuzu.
As a result of his parents’ unique backgrounds, Ichigo inherited both Shinigami and Quincy powers, making him a hybrid of the two. But because his mother was infected by the artificial hollow, he also possesses hollow powers.
This connection to the hollows also led to the development of his Fullbring ability, which is only possible through Hollow influence.
When it was revealed that Ichigo’s Bankai couldn’t be stolen, even when several Captains had their Bankais stolen, Captain Commander Yamamoto commented that it might be because Ichigo’s Bankai still had much room to grow and evolve.
But that notion was soon dispelled by Yhwach, who stated that the Quincy trying to steal a Shinigami’s Bankai must be stronger than or equal to the Shinigami. Yhwach proved this to be true when he stole Yamamoto’s terrifying Bankai.
What Happens When The Quincy Try to Steal Ichigo’s Bankai?
Ichigo Vs. Ebern
It was in this fight that the unique nature of Ichigo’s Bankai was revealed. Towards the middle of the fight, Ebern adjusts his Reishi Cannons as Ichigo continues dodging his blasts. Ebern wonders if this is the full extent of Ichigo’s might while continuing to taunt him.
Ichigo realizes that Ebern has been making fun of him and pressuring him to use his Bankai. He determines that since he has no idea who Ebern is or what he wants, he has no choice but to play along. Ebern, who is pleased to see Ichigo preparing his Bankai, takes out a Medallion and sends out a burst of energy that creates a huge X in the air around him, announcing that this would be the end of Ichigo’s Bankai.
However, Ebern is shocked to see that Ichigo, despite the Medallion’s effects causing the left arm of his long coat to start to shatter and fly off into the air, is able to slice the light beams with his sword and then fire a Getsuga Tensho right at him. Ebern is left surprised that Ichigo’s Bankai didn’t vanish!
The Wandenreich Medallion is a terrifying tool that can steal a shinigami’s Bankai, leaving them powerless and vulnerable. This was exactly the Medallion that Ebern used on Ichigo, and it makes sense that he’d be shocked it didn’t work. For all he knows, Ichigo is a shinigami, so why didn’t the Medallion steal his Bankai?
When Ebern attempted to use the medallion on Ichigo, he was surprised to find it ineffective. This is because Ichigo’s sword is not a traditional shinigami Zanpakutō but rather a manifestation of his Quincy powers. Therefore, his Shikai and Bankai are Quincy abilities disguised as shinigami powers.
Even though it appears to be a shinigami Bankai, it is a manifestation of his Quincy powers, which the medallion cannot take away. It just wasn’t designed to negate Quincy’s abilities. This is why Ichigo can maintain his Bankai even in the face of powerful Quincy opponents, making him a force to be reckoned with in any battle.
Ichigo Vs. Quilge Opie
Quincy’s ability to steal a shinigami’s Bankai is not as simple as just possessing the Wandenreich Medallion. In fact, it requires a great deal of power and skill to accomplish.
This was demonstrated when Yhwach, the leader of the Wandenreich army, confronted Captain-Commander Genryusai Yamamoto Shigekuni and revealed that even with the Medallion, one needs to be powerful enough to steal a shinigami’s Bankai.
One of the strongest, pure-blooded Quincy in the Wandenreich army is Quilge Opie. He possesses the ability to weaken a Captain-level shinigami using the Wandenreich Medallion but was still unable to do so in his fight against Ichigo.
Towards the end of the fight, he was able to assume his Vollständig state, the most powerful form of a Quincy. Still, he was unable to steal Ichigo’s Bankai. Quilge was shocked at how easily Ichigo fought back against him, not realizing he was using Quincy’s abilities.
The ability to steal a Bankai is a rare and challenging skill that requires immense power and expertise. While possessing the medallion is necessary, it is not enough on its own. Only the most skilled and powerful Quincy can hope to steal a shinigami’s Bankai; even then, they may not always succeed.
In conclusion, Ichigo Kurosaki’s Bankai cannot be stolen because it’s not a traditional shinigami ability. As a mix of Quincym Shinigami, and Hollow powers, Ichigo’s sword is not bound by the same rules as a typical Zanpakutō. Even the powerful Quincy medallion can’t steal it unless the Quincy attempting the theft is incredibly powerful.
This revelation about Ichigo’s powers adds another layer of complexity to the already intricate world of Bleach. It’s fascinating to see how the interplay of different spiritual powers can result in unique abilities and strengths. And for fans of the series, it’s exciting to ponder what other surprises may be in store for Ichigo and his allies in future battles.
Now that you know the reason why Ichigo’s Bankai can’t be stolen, you will be ready to watch the remainder of the final arc of Bleach anime when it returns!